PARIS – The Chief Rabbinate's Council will convene on Thursday to discuss the subject of civil marriage, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger said on Wednesday. This will be the first time that the Rabbinate will discuss halachic solutions for non-religious marriage.
However, Metzger stressed that the rabbis will only exchange views and are not expected to make a decision on the matter. He spoke during the annual conference of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE) in Paris.
In his speech Metzger referred to the issue that has become one of the hot topics in the recent election campaign, and commented on the rabbis' involvement in the matter. "This has been deliberated by the great sages of Israel, and I know that both Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Rabbi Elyashiv have addressed it. But they haven't given their permission to anything."
Talking Judaism at RCE convention (Photo: Jery Sin-Chalom)
The chief rabbi promised that in nay case, the council will not support mixed marriages, and said: "They (the Yisrael Beiteinu party) want a Jew and a non-Jew to be allowed to marry, and this will certainly not be permitted by anyone. It's inconceivable to have mixed marriages approved by a rabbi in Israel. We will do everything in order to keep the spirit of Israel holy.
"If God forbid we will do something against the Halacha or without the consent of the great sages of Israel – we will be dividing the nation," he added.
On Monday, at the opening of the convention, Tel Aviv Rabbi Yisrael Lau harshly criticized Avigdor Lieberman's civil marriage drive and said that mix marriages were "the terrible catastrophe that is plaguing the people of Israel in the world today."
He warned that "in addition to this, there are those who are trying to open the gates for this phenomenon in Israel as well. We don't need this import."
Rabbi Lau suggested that anyone wishing to wed in a civil marriage will do so abroad. "You want to introduce pluralism, liberalism, reforms? There are enough countries who claim to exercise this. There are 192 democratic states, but only one Jewish state," he concluded.